After the MLS All-Star Game Wednesday night in Portland, some misconceptions have been exposed. Keeping in mind that this was just a friendly where the result mattered little and playing to win wasn’t at the very fore of the conversation and thinking surrounding the game, here are my 5 thoughts regarding the 2014 MLS All-Star Game:
1. Pep Guardiola Isn’t The Classiest Human Being Around
I love Pep. You love Pep. We all love Pep. Or we all did.
The narrative surrounding Pep Guardiola throughout his career as a player and now as the most celebrated manager in the game is one of class. Guardiola has always been viewed as a cerebral person, a philosopher of the beautiful game who cares very deeply about style and character.
Guardiola’s insistence on the best, purest soccer, and his kindness as a person have won him followers and admirers across the globe. One of those admirers was Caleb Porter, his opposite number in the MLS All-Star Game.
Porter wasn’t shy about explaining his quasi-idolization of Guardiola in the press leading up to the game. The Timbers has modeled his preferred playing style and team building mechanisms after Guardiola, and Pep himself had to know how Porter looked up to him well before the game was played. It was an occasion Porter was looking forward to greatly, in no small part because he’d be managing a team against Guardiola.
I understand that Guardiola was unhappy with the severity of tackles flying in mainly from Cascadia’s main instigators in Will Johnson and Osvaldo Alonso, and also in part from Tim Cahill, but Guardiola should have understood first off, that Porter has absolutely no control over the on-field behavior of players he’s coached for two days before an exhibition game, and secondly, that the likes of Alonso and Johnson don’t know any other way to play.
If Pep had a problem with any players, he should have talked to them. Not their helpless and hapless manager.
In the end, Guaridola railing at the fourth official, refusing – pointedly, and on multiple occasions – to shake Porter or his coaching staff’s hand, exposed him as a sore loser and child. It’s poor, poor form, bordering on malicious.
If Guardiola didn’t want any challenges, he shouldn’t have signed up to play a soccer game.
2. I Feel Bad For Caleb Porter
Under usual circumstances, Porter is feisty, slightly whiney, and uber competitive. He’s not cut out for sympathy.